The University of Minnesota baseball team had all nine in the starting lineup earn a hit, while Ben Meyer pitched eight innings to help the Golden Gophers to a 5-1 win over Western Illinois, today, at the H.H.H. Metrodome. With the win, the Gophers (9-5) win the series after the no-hitter by Tom Windle Friday night. The Leathernecks drop to 2-9 this year.
Meyer had a career-high six strikeouts in eight innings of work. He scattered six hits, one earned run and did not walk a batter. The Big Ten Pitcher of the Week dropped his earned run average to 2.92 this season. Dalton Sawyer finished the game in the ninth inning and sent down the batters in order. Meyer improved to 2-2 on the season, while WIU's Tyler Willman dropped to 0-3 this year.
Minnesota was led in hitting by Troy Larson, who went 2-5 with two runs batted in. He singled and hit a triple, while plating a run in both the sixth and eighth inning. Bobby Juan was 1-3 and had two RBI, while Matt Halloran was also 1-3 with an RBI.
Minnesota batted around in the first inning to take an early 3-0 lead. With two outs, Minnesota started things off with a walk from Dan Olinger and a single to left from Michael Handel. JT Canakes hit a high chopper off the dirt for an infield hit, which loaded the bases. Juan stepped up and delivered a two-RBI single past the second baseman to score both Olinger and Handel. Halloran followed with single up the middle as Canakes came in to score for the 3-0 lead.
After 13.2 innings of scoreless play, the Leathernecks got their first run across of the weekend in the top of the fifth inning. Mark Garton led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on an infield grounder. Brent Turner hit a chopper for a hit and scored Garton, cutting Minnesota's lead to two.
The Gophers, however, responded when they put the game back to a three-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Dan Motl singled to center. He came around to score when Larson hit an opposite field triple into the right field corner to plate Motl.
Minnesota would add its fifth and final run in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Halloran was hit by a pitch and Kurt Schlangen came in to pinch run. Ryan Abrahamson hit a ground rule double to left center, putting two in scoring position. Andy Henkemeyer pinch hit and would be intentionally walked to load the bases. Larson, however, would hit a RBI grounder to second as Schlangen came home to score.
Minnesota finished the game with 10 hits, six walks and just three struck out, while it stranded nine on base. The Leathernecks had six hits, six strikeouts and left four on base. With Minnesota scoring three runs in the first, the Gophers are now 6-0 when scoring first and 3-0 when scoring a run in the first inning.
Minnesota and Western Illinois conclude the series, tomorrow at 1:05 p.m., also at the Dome.